Mitsotakis says Erdoğan should focus on economy, not Ottoman fantasies

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan should concentrate on repairing his country’s struggling economy instead of confrontation with Greece.

“I really believe that president Erdoğan would serve his people much better if he focused on reviving the ailing Turkish economy rather than reviving neo-Ottoman revisionist fantasies,” Mitsotakis said in an interview with CNN television on Thursday, the Kathimerini newspaper reported.

Turkey and Greece have been mired in arguments over territory that almost led to direct military clashes, most recently in 2020, when Greek warships neared a navy-escorted Turkish survey ship searching for natural gas off a Greek island. Military tensions have built again four months ago as the two countries accused each other of violating each other’s airspace and Turkey conducted military exercises close to Greek islands lying adjacent to its coastline.

“The last thing that NATO, the last thing that Europe needs is another source of instability in southeastern Europe,” Mitsotakis said.

“We have an obligation to sort out our differences with Turkey and there is only one playbook that we can use and that is the playbook of international law,” he said.

The status of Greek islands in the eastern Aegean has become a bone of contention between Athens and Ankara after Turkey said it would initiate a “discussion on the islands’ sovereignty” unless Greece demilitarised them in line with international treaties. Greece says it is legally entitled to station its military on the islands.

Turkey’s economy has been rocked by runaway inflation -- it has surged to almost 80 percent annually -- and by a slump in the value of the lira after Erdoğan ordered the central bank to cut interest rates late last year. The economic travails have led to a decline in Erdoğan’s popularity among voters ahead of elections, which must be arranged for June next year at the latest.

 

 

 

 

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